We can’t do this alone. Sometimes in leading a small congregation it’s easy to think you can because you’ve had to do nearly everything anyway. But if your church is going to grow, you have to awaken the sense of wonder and possibility — we sometimes call this faith — in the people you serve.
Remember when you used to be a dreamer? Round about the time you received your calling to enter the pastorate, you started to envision what your ministry would look like. Maybe it’s started to take shape. Maybe it looks nothing like what you imagined. But somewhere along the way, you lost the ability to dream. Maybe it was too many unmet expectations, maybe it was too many demands from others, maybe it was too many people telling you things would never work. The fact is, the first sleeper that needs to be awaken to God-sized vision is you. Remember, “with God, all things are possible,” and in fact, God “is able to do exceedingly, immeasurably more than all we can ask, or even imagine!” Clear away some budget sheets and find your ability and desire to dream.
Call others to dream with you. Use words like “imagine.” Imagine if every family in this church took in one foster kid. Imagine if every member of this church started praying for God to move in the lives of just one of their neighbors. Imagine if each of us took one high school student under our wing. Awaken their hearts and spirits to the possibilities of how God could transform your community through their transformed lives. Let people dream, and lead with yes. No matter how crazy the idea may seem, lead with yes and then figure out what it’s going to look like and how it’s going to work. If it’s their idea, the can do it … and you are there to cheer them on.
God is Creator, and as his image bearers we are meant to be creative. God is imaginative, and as his image bearers we are made to imagine. We just too often lull ourslelves to sleep with the powerless and uninspiring drivel that we can accomplish in our own limited strength and wisdom. We need God to lift us above our fog and the haze of our questions and confusion. When God set his vision before people, specifically Zechariah and Mary, both asked a the same question, yet one was exalted and one was struck dumb. The question was “how?” Mary’s was a how of process, she wanted to know what God wanted her to do. Zechariah’s how was one of doubt. His inability to dream and trust God betrayed him. We need to wake up the sleepers and follow God into the splendor and glory of the Church He wants to build, not the one we’ve settled for, then we’ll find our voice in the world. And llet it begin with us!